If you have a child who takes forever to do their homework, can’t seem to get ready for school on time, and doesn’t seem to care about getting things done, don’t automatically assume it’s because they are lazy. It’s quite possible that your child is impacted by slow processing speed.
Slow processing speed can cause high levels of frustration and conflict at home, particularly when it’s not diagnosed. Fortunately, identifying slow processing speed in children is not difficult. A battery of basic neuropsychological tests can determine how efficiently your child processes information. However, given that slow processing speed often co-occurs with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Anxiety Disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, the picture may be more complicated. Beyond comorbid psychiatric and learning issues, motivation, self-esteem, and emotional and behavioral self-regulation can also impact a child’s processing speed.
Because it can often be so difficult to distinguish between effort and ability when it involves completing schoolwork and other undesirable tasks, it is crucial for parents to be able to recognize if their kids experience slow processing speed. Unfortunately, many kids with slow processing speed are criticized and demeaned due to their difficulty in keeping up with their peers. Thoughtful adults would view it as inappropriate to harshly evaluate a child who ran slowly or who had poor vision. But because slow processing speed is a biological brain-based disorder (and sometimes combined with motivational factors), many of these kids face unfair criticism and develop a sense of inferior self-esteem and lack of confidence in their abilities at school.
The following series of articles is designed to help parents recognize and understand slow processing speed in children. You’ll find everything here, from diagnosis to resources to strategies for success.
Featured image: Flickr user San José Public Library